Former Union Minister Gopinath Munde's daughter Pankaja Munde on Thursday launched a "Sangharsh Yatra," asking her detractors not to politicise her father's death.
The BJP leader's demise in a road accident in Delhi on June 3 has prompted a CBI inquiry. "Let me warn those shedding crocodile tears over my father's death not to politicise my father's death," Pankaja said at the inaugural event of the 3,000 km long yatra which will traverse 79 Assembly constituencies in 21 districts of Maharashtra.
It was evident that the barb was directed against Pankaja's estranged cousin Dhanajay Munde who is an MLC of the Sharad Pawar led NCP. Dhananjay has been seeking expedition of the CBI probe into Munde's death. "Those who caused nothing but anguish to my father are now trying to politicise his death," Pankaja, a BJP MLA, said.
Maharashtra BJP President Devendra Fadnavis backed Pankaja, saying "people know Pankaja is Munde Saheb's real heir and they will reject others."
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje was scheduled to launch the yatra but the crowds at the public rally were informed that she could not make it owing to an official event in her state. Her message to Pankaja was read out.
The late Munde had organised a Sangharsh Yatra in 1994 on the plank of criminalisation of politics. Many political observers feel it was instrumental in bringing down the Congress government and ushering in the BJP-Shiv Sena regime in the state in 1995.
"My father began his yatra from Shivneri Fort. I am launching mine from Sindkhed Raja from where Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's mother Jijabai hailed," Pankaja said.
"When the Mahayuti (Shiv Sena-BJP led alliance) government comes to power in Maharashtra, we will throw those responsible for farmers suicides into jail," Fadnavis said.
While posters of BJP national leaders like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah and state leaders like Fadnavis, Vinod Tawde and Eknath Khadse adorned the rally backdrop, the poster of Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was conspicuous by its absence.